Why the Tree of Life?


Happy Birthday, Dunagan!!

Dunagan turned 5 this past Saturday. Pictures soon!


Ranch and Wedding

To some of my pacifist friends and online acquaintances, I need to warn you about the pictures below. As much as I have have pleaded with my husband to please consider the plight of the endangered skeet, he has insisted that skeet-hunting is an important part of our children's heritage, good Texans that we are. Our children will not grow up believing that skeets only come prepackaged in stores. (Please consider joining Save the Skeets). (Yes, we're Quaker, and yes, we own firearms. For an interesting blog post from a Friend who also owns guns, go here.)

We were at a family wedding this past weekend in Waco where the family ranch is. The wedding was actually at the ranch across the street. It was BEEE U TEEE FUL out there. Wow! Green with wildflowers everywhere. I told Evan, you know, in all these years, I've only ever been out here when it was blazing hot or really cold. Never green. Bluebonnets, winecups, indian blankets and paintbrushes... man, you name it. Flowers I haven't even seen before!

Needless to say, the wedding itself was beautiful, perched on a hill with the wildflowers all around and the sun setting. We had a great time, and our family were the ones on the dance floor all night until they told us to go home!

We had a fair amount of time in the days surrounding the wedding to do some shooting and exploring. We even found a great horned owl nest in one of the deer blinds! Owls are not neat and clean nesters, let me tell you. Anyone want an owl pellet? It was disgusting and fascinating, like a little lions' lair complete with skeletons strewn about the floor.

We also got to have a lot of great cousin time! And we're hoping to go visit said cousins sometime soon!
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Wishing on 2

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Summer is a Comin' in

We hit the 90's yesterday and today, but I have to say we've enjoyed a good, long Spring--- a rare treat.

Guess what we watched today??? Baby blue jays learning how to fly! We discovered their nest last week and have been watching them since. Mama was making queer little grunts of encouragement as the two babies flitted from branch to branch. Unfortunately, Geena-dog killed one this afternoon. Kirven was in the front yard at the time and saw her, but didn't make it in time to save the fledgling. Both boys were only mildly upset, being more curious and generally frustrated with our no-nice-word-here dog than anything else. I felt sad for the mama.

So, what have we been up to besides being outside as much as possible? Wee Ayla is sporting a nice tan, by the way, helped along by the fact that she prefers to be naked most of the time. At several points in the morning, I will hear from one of the boys, "Mom! Ayla's out of her diaper again!" Does she want to potty?? Oh, goodness me, nooooo..... Why on earth would she want to do that? She apparently had enough of that while we EC'd to last her awhile.

Kirven and I are nearing the end of the Four Processes Math Block. He has been introduced to addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, and has had no problems with any of the word problems or grid sheets that I have given him. He can usually come up with the answer in his head, but I have been making him work with the counting stones; physically counting them out and moving them around appropriately, so that he really has that foundation.

We've also been chugging along with the Bob Books as his language arts practice during this Math block. He's nearly through the third box, and I have the fourth box (compound words) on order. It's really beginning to click with him, but he has yet to read for anyone other than myself, including Dad. I also checked out several of the Nancy Shaw books (Sheep in a Jeep, Sheep on a Ship, Sheep in a Shop) for further practice with word families, perfect for the 'eep' family. It was the first time we brought library books home that he could decode for himself. Our next block with be a language arts block, and we will focus on word families again using the town board. I think we'll be doing the "ail" family, and similar families.

We've also kept up with form drawing, handwriting, recorder and read-alouds (we're reading Moffat Museum at the moment). But some things like paintings and projects have fallen by the wayside in favor of free play outside.

Dunagan is ready now for some light kindergarten work, so we have started reading some of the folk tales. Kirven is enjoying them as well, more now than when they were specifically for him. I'm finding that he seems to do better with the read-aloud material (folk tales, fairy tales) about a year behind the typical recommendation. Not sure why, but it will be convenient, at least, since I will be able to combine some with Dunagan, I think. With this in mind, I think I will delay the 2nd grade Sage Stories, but do all the other 2nd grade work when the time comes. I've also been finding more "work" for Dunagan during lesson time, such as pattern blocks and reading to him from a DK animal encyclopedia.

We've also started reading a little bit of The Story of the World. They've enjoyed it so much that I got the activity guide, but we're going to go at a very leisurely pace.

And finally... I finally have gotten Kirven started on Rosetta Stone Spanish. He loves it mainly because he gets to be on the computer. So far, I'm pleased with the program, but then again, we have only done the first section of the first lesson. Ayla has a knack for waking up from nap at the wrong time. But, we'll see...

Kirven goes away to an overnight camp this June for two weeks for the first time. Dunagan will be going to Grammy and Grandpa Camp at the same time. Now, what to do with Ayla???

Ayla has very much become the two year old. She has opinions now and she knows how to voice them, usually with words, but lack of vocabulary is no hindrance, believe you me. She loves new clothes, particularly pretty dresses, and though she prefers to be naked, she will always put on something new (as in: Look, Ayla, a new dress... so pretty!), and she makes several wardrobe changes a day. With the several bags of hand-me-downs we've collected from various friends, this has been a successful dressing tactic (and one that I never envisioned using). Ayla loves her baby dolls and calls them all "Babies" (even when it is just one she is talking about), and she pushes them around in her little stroller or carries them in her back carrier (thanks, Grammy!) In fact, she walked the entire grocery store this afternoon with two of her babies on her back.

On a final Ayla note, Ayla has a crazy sweet tooth, and she can smell chocolate on my breath from four feet away. No lie. She has had more chocolate and sugar in her short 2 years than either boy had at her age. I'm either more relaxed in my stance on sweets or just plain lazier. Both, I guess.

Pictures soon, I promise.